Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you worked for the Department of Labor or as a general contractor, it’s probably safe to say that the need to adhere to the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) was far from being a regular occurrence. With the pandemic, however, came the ESSER funding, a series of federal grants which allowed for construction and renovation projects to reduce the spread of COVID. And with the ability to use federal funding to support construction and renovation projects came the need to better understand the requirements under the DBA.
The DBA was included in the USED Frequently Asked Questions document when it was first released in May of 2021, but it seems like it became a hot topic following the release of the updated December 7, 2022 ESSER Frequently Asked Questions document. Since then, it now seems like every ESSER-related meeting, training, and discussion is incomplete unless it contains information tied to the DBA requirements. At the BruMan Virtual Spring Forum on May 4, 2023, it was mentioned that “We know we’re going to see [the Davis-Bacon Act] in audits and monitoring coming up, particularly with stimulus funds.” From an ESSER standpoint, Nevada’s requests tied to the DBA are diverse. Still, most of these requests are connected to building modifications for safety and social distancing and updates or repairs to HVAC systems.
While it is true that the DBA is just one of the multiple requirements which need to be met for construction and renovation projects, it could also be argued that it is by far the most complex, which is probably why it has been receiving so much attention lately as LEAs across the country try to figure out whether or not they are complying with the DBA requirements. The DBA applies to federally-funded contracts over $2,000, which are entered into for the actual construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of a public building or public work - 29 C.F.R Part 5, Subpart A § 5.5. Regarding general knowledge of the DBA requirements, I believe most of us are familiar with the need to spot-check weekly certified payrolls and ensure that the Davis-Bacon posters are visible at the work site. Still, there is more to it, from selecting the correct wage determination type to timeframes to LEA responsibilities and contracts.
To help you to understand the Davis-Bacon Act requirements better, we are providing a few resources which provide the information which you will need:
Please know that the above resources, especially the Department of Labor training, should provide you with a good understanding of the DBA requirements. However, if you still have questions after reviewing these resources, please do not hesitate to contact your ESSER Core Team liaison. Please also know that the ESSER Core Team will continue to monitor for any DBA updates and resources, which we will share with your ESSER point person as they become available.